This is just a quickie review for a set that doesn't really have much to describe, anyway.
"It’s hot in the jungle and picking the best bananas is tricky work as the tree grows new leaves. Bananas get the monkey to help you collect the most fruit, but don’t let the tree tip over! A fun game of balance for 2 - 4 players."
Set Name: Banana Balance
Set Number: 3853
Theme: Lego Games
Year Released: 2011
Number of Pieces: 49
Price on Release: €9.99
The abundance of green and yellow should make this stick out, but otherwise it's fairly typical of the Games line. The guy in white is totally into it. He'll give himself a heart attack if he doesn't settle down. The back contains the usual photo of the set, and I had taken a picture of it, but I think I deleted it. Sorry.... it still calls the die a "dice" though...
Spill said box and you're met with these five objects. The bags feel pretty empty, and they are. The manual is lamentably folded, despite the fact that it fits into the box flat even better than the gameplay booklet.
Here's what the bags contain. Obviously, the highlight of the set is twelve leaf parts and twelve bananas. Those massive, genetically-engineered Lego bananas. Plus a monkey. Overall, this is an excellent selection of nice parts (assuming you needed twelve more bananas) for the price. There are no spares in the set. Starting with Wave 4, all of the Lego Games feature the new red crowbar instead of the old black wrench for detooling the die.
The parts selection is so limited that they had to fill half the page with a random graphic.
Building the tree takes about 3.8 minutes. They use the number "3" printed on the technic bits to help keep track of its shape during the process.
And here's the completed yoke. The tree begins with four leaves and four bananas attached, the rest are added during the game. If the tree falls over during your turn, you lose the game instantly. It's quite easy to unbalance, but if your hands are any way steady you'll be fine.
Roll a green to attach another leaf. Roll a yellow to attach another banana. Brown is "Monkey Move," a fantastic term all by itself. Roll Monkey Move to hang him by his tail from any leaf, and then take all the bananas on that leaf. If the monkey falls off, he steals one of your bananas (you must also shout "Bananas!" I, uh, didn't). The person with the most bananas when they're all gone is the winner.
The brown rod is used in a variant game, where the monkey must climb the tree. Roll a Monkey Move, and he goes up a step. Roll a yellow, and you get to clear all the bananas from one leaf for each step up the tree the monkey is, then reset the monkey. It sounds a lot faster, but since it doesn't say how bananas are grown, it can't be played
I wasn't planning for this to be a quickie review but there's really nothing else to say about the set. There's little building, gameplay is simple, and even the instruction booklet runs out of parts to list. Still, despite its smallness, I'm pretty pleased with it.
Design: 8/10 Extreme simplicity done rather well. The tree looks great and the game is probably quite fun, particularly with small kids who'd likely love the physical aspect of balancing it.
Parts: 9/10 There's less than fifty but very few are basic, run-of-the-mill bits. Twelve leaves, twelve bananas and a monkey are all big deals for me, I didn't own any brown Technic bits before and the crowbar is far easier to use than the wrench. No microfigs but I can't have everything.
Build: 9/10 Barely noticed it. Maybe that normally means a lower score but this is a Games set so you're straight into the playing.
Playability: 7/10 Seems like one for the youngest kids; there's not a lot here for anybody older. However, it should work well with the right audience, and the parts are great for everybody else.
Price: 7/10 49 parts for a tenner isn't that hot on the surface, but they're great parts.
Total: 86% I haven't tried the NinjaGo game yet, but of the other Wave 4 games, this is easily the best for parts, albeit highly specialised ones. Gameplay's also rather specialized but works well. It's particularly easy for adults to "accidently" lose at, too.
Thanks for reading!
If Lego was to Scale, You Could Feed a Family for a Week
Edited by WhiteFang, 09 February 2011 - 04:22 PM.